Friday, 22 May 2009

Churnet Valley

3 locks, 2 Miles. Now moored at Cheddleton Flint Mill.

With an ever so slight improvement in the weather we set off to return to the Caldon Canal. The first hurdle is a right angle turn as we came off the Hazlehurst aqueduct, luckily this is a winding hole for smaller vessels so there was plenty of room to manoeuvre and we got around in two manoeuvres.

The next hurdle was the turn from the Leek canal onto the Caldon Canal. The junction looked wide enough but the unknown factor was, was it deep enough or were there hidden mud banks? Ah well here goes, success, 3 shunts backwards and forwards and we were round. As luck would have it we met 2 hire boats travelling in the opposite direction so the locks were set in our favour.

It didn’t take long to reach the Flint Mill which is like stepping back in time. With no modern day items to give the game away you could take a photo and you would swear it was as it was back in the 1800’s. Unfortunately the horse drawn barge Vienna was missing from the wharf mooring to give it a more authentic look.

This afternoon amid brilliant sunshine and occasional showers we walked the towpath down to bridge 44 and the Cheddleton Station on the Churnet Valley preserved railway. We checked out the moorings nearby and will move down there tomorrow. Due to all the rain we have had over the last week or so the River Churnet seems to be running quite fast so we may not be able to complete this navigation and may have to terminate at lock 16 where the river and the canal converge for about a mile to Consall Forge. This being the case the last section of about 3 miles may have to be done on foot, watch this space as they say.

1640 locks, 3473 miles, 61 Tunnels, 45 swing bridges and 42 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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